Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

January 16, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

McCAIN'S CHANCES....As Josh Marshall points out, John McCain got stomped in Michigan among self-described Republicans. He also got stomped among Republicans in Iowa, and even lost (though closely) among Republicans in New Hampshire. Independents might like him, but basically, John McCain just isn't doing well among Republicans in the Republican primary.

Elsewhere, Ezra Klein highlights Rush Limbaugh's spittle-flecked hatred of both McCain and Mike Huckabee: "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party." Ouch.

Put those things together with the fact that future primaries are mostly closed, which means that only Republicans will be voting in the Republican contests, and McCain's chances suddenly don't look so good. Ditto for Huckabee, who's shown very little ability to appeal much beyond his evangelical base. And ditto for Rudy Giuliani, who might very well be dead before Super Tuesday even rolls around.

Somehow, every time I go through this exercise, the only possible winner seems like Mitt Romney, even though his national support levels don't look so hot. On the other hand, Romney not only won Michigan last night, but he beat everyone else, including Huckabee, among evangelicals. That seems promising for the Romney cause.

But I'm still rooting for a brokered convention. Hooray for smoke-filled GOP rooms!

Kevin Drum 12:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (105)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I agree. I think Romney will be the last man standing.

Posted by: Lee on January 16, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Oh man, I hope Mitt wins and makes Huckabee his running mate. It would be the most unelectable ticket in the history of American politics.

Posted by: Matthewcc on January 16, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

What I want to know is, if Mitt is the GOP candidate, who will be "Jeff?" I can't wait to denigrate their slate as, "Mitt and Jeff."

Snarky times a-comin'!

Ed

Posted by: Ed Drone on January 16, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

They all lose and the Republicans nominate Jeb Bush at a brokered convention.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 16, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

I want to see the Huckster run on a third party ticket for the religious intolerant.

Posted by: wihntr on January 16, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

If Mitt is the top of the ticket, can we call his VP SubMitt?

If Mitt loses and runs again, can we call him ReMitt?

And, given all the money he's spent on advertising, why has no one called him AdMitt?

There. I've clean run out of really bad puns. Anyone else care to try?

Posted by: frankly0 on January 16, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be a lot more impressed if you had written that post yesterday.

It's really getting annoying watching all the pundits and bloggers act like they know who is going to win this thing. Two days ago, McCain was assured the nomination.

On the Democratic side, Hilary had it in the bag. Until she lost Iowa. And then Obama was the clear winner. Until he lost New Hampshire, and now Hilary is obviously going to win the nomination. You know until she loses in Nevada to John Edwards, and then he's the inevitable nominee.

Meh.

Posted by: Justin on January 16, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a loyal Dem. and no Romney fan but let's take a look:

- Romney's campaign rhetoric differs from his actual governing record.
- He comes from a political family.
- He gives insubstantial speeches about optimism and change.

Sounds like the perfect storm of a candidate to me.

Posted by: ao on January 16, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Somehow, every time I go through this exercise, the only possible winner seems like Mitt Romney, even though his national support levels don't look so hot.

I think Mitt will win because he's the only who's conservative on all of the issues. Rudy is an economic conservative but not a social conservative. Huckabee is a social conservative but not a economic conservative. Mccain is a national security conservative but not a conservative on anything else. Mitt is a conservative on everything.

As for the national poll numbers, I think it's because people don't really know him. Once people see the real Mitt Romney, voters will be eager to vote for Mitt. The only thing I would be worried about is if Hillary becomes the Democratic nominee, she might pull the religion card out against Mitt. After seeing the way she used the race card in the Democratic primaries, I don't think anything would be beneath her. I suspect many Obama supporters will see the same thing in Hillary that I do, and vote for Mitt so that another Clinton can not come into power again and bring back the horrible 90's.

Posted by: Al on January 16, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Where on earth are they holding the GOP convention that allows smoking indoors?

Posted by: lampwick on January 16, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Folks are too quick in dismissing September11iani. If he pulls off the win in Florida, with the quick turnaround until Super Tuesday he may wingoing away because at point people will be voting on name recognition.

Posted by: Rico on January 16, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

As I've said before, Romney will get the nomination because he's the candidate each of the GOP factions hates the LEAST.

Posted by: Speed on January 16, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Let me speak on behalf of the Phans of Phlegmatic Phred.

Don't count Fred Thompson out! He's about to surprise everyone by winning everyone South Carolina!

Thank you. We now return you to the real world in which Fred slept late, skipped a few scheduled events, made a phone call or two and called it a day.


Posted by: bob on January 16, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, a brokered convention is looking likely at the moment. With Rudy, Fred, Huckaby, Romney and McCain all winning significant numbers of delegates, it will be hard for any of them to have a majority or even a near-majority. I don't know how the Repubs would resolve a situation where each of 5 candidated had between 10% and 30% of the delegates.

IMHO Huckaby is a dead man walking, but he may have enough delegates to be a king-maker. Rush's vehement opposition will probably kill McCain, even though he may enter the convention with more delegates than any other candidate.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 16, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

franklyo, when Romney lands himself in a scandal, he'll be Mittigating.

Posted by: Boronx on January 16, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Al,

I think you meant to say that the Rudy, Huckabee and McCain aren't conservative enough for the modern gay-hating, deficit-loving, immigrant-bashing Republican.

Posted by: uri on January 16, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that Al (like Hugh Hewitt, K-Lo et al.) regards him as a strong candidate is, in fact, excellent reason why Democrats should root for Romney. The GOP is in deep trouble right now as evidenced by the fact that the party's brightest minds apparently regard Mitt as their best bet.

Here's a plastic, inauthentic, uncharismatic flip-flopper from Massachusetts that doesn't even excite GOP hardliners! (apart from K-Lo) But he tells them what they like to hear, which means his problems will be even greater in the general election when he has to tackle back to the center. He is the "he'll do, I guess" candidate.

Even better, Mitt has scant foreign policy experience which is bad for conservatives since it just *might* be one of the GOP's few remaining advantages in November (see McCain, John). And there is his odd religion which bothers hardcore evangelical GOP voters...

What's not to like about this guy? McCain, Huckabee or Thompson would clearly be more difficult opponents.


MARCU$

Posted by: MARCU$ on January 16, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

"...if either of these two guys get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party."

Does it really make a difference which Republican loses to the Democrat? I guess so, since the reasons for the loss will be analyzed to death.

lampwick: "Where on earth are they holding the GOP convention that allows smoking indoors?"

Heh. Um, how 'bout North Carolina? (Actually, at the hockey arena in St. Paul, MN.)

Posted by: Grumpy on January 16, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is still leading at 38% followed by Rudy at 20% and Mitt at 18%.

I think that Romney would make the best President but I also think he would be the easiest Republican to beat.

I just hope that the Democrats actually win in November (62% chance)

Posted by: neil wilson on January 16, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Lampwick-

We're talking about the Republicans here, why would they care if smoking were forbidden? Remember that Leona Helmsley may be as important a saint as Ronnie to them. Rules are for other people.

Posted by: freelunch on January 16, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

A Romney win? You want me to voMitt?

so there.

Posted by: gregor on January 16, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Last brokered convention gave us Reagan. Be careful what you ask for!!!

Posted by: yep on January 16, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

The convention won't be brokered in a smoke-filled back room. No smoking in the back rooms! It will be brokered in an alley behind the convention center where the smokers will be standing and talking, the requisite 20 feet from the exit.

Posted by: Alan Bostick on January 16, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

What worries me is that Romney looks to me like GWB did in 2000 -- an empty suit filled with money, not principles. Turned out I was wrong about GWB -- he had principles that were just unthinkable at the time. And those principles hadn't showed up in his terms as governor. So, I worry, what are Romney's real principles, how will the powers of the Presidency change him, and will he squeak it out the way Bush did in 2000?

Posted by: David in NY on January 16, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think a brokered convention is almost a lock. Huckabee is going to continue to peel off the 20% hardcore evangelicals (more in some states) and Ron Paul is going to continue to peel off the 10% wackos (more in some states). They're not winners, but they'll continue to amass delegates. I'd also guess that at some point soon Rudy throws his support to McCain to keep him afloat. I agree that this prob makes Romney the ultimate winner, but not by much, and not without a LOT of heartache, expense, and damage.

Posted by: asd on January 16, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Mitt had a history in Michigan, although that was a long time ago. It may have helped him.

I'm making no predictions on the Republican side. I don't know nearly enough about their process and what they want.

To me, unless Obama pulls out an upset in, probably, California or some other BIG state I'm thinking Clinton gets it.

I'm not betting any money though.

Posted by: Tripp on January 16, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Two words. JEB BUSH....

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on January 16, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

A Democratic wet dream: an emittered, spintered, brokered convention turns to Newt Gingrich.

Posted by: Marlowe on January 16, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

The strangest and most insightful thing is WHY McCain and the Huckster are so hated by Rush and company.

McCain is actually a pretty standard conservative except...

1. He thinks cutting spending and limiting government is more important than tax cuts, and...

2. People actually like him. You can't underestimate how angry right-wingers get at people who are more popular than they are.

Huckabee is the most personally appealing candidate on the GOP side, except...

1. He sounds like he cares about poor and working class people, and...

2. As governor of a state, he actually had to do things that didn't conform to the ideological fantasies of the right.

Mike

Posted by: MBunge on January 16, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Ditto for Huckabee, who's shown very little ability to appeal much beyond his evangelical base.

Yeah but they're about to plunge into the Bible Belt so I'll wait and see.

Still even with that, it seems he is going to have a hard time in the West, East and North.

Posted by: Daryl on January 16, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "But I'm still rooting for a brokered convention. Hooray for smoke-filled GOP rooms!"

Oh, yeah? Well, I got your official GOP brokered convention slogan for you -- right here:

"CHENEY / LIEBERMAN '08: If you know what's good for you!"

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 16, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Now that was just downright wicked.

Posted by: Lucy on January 16, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

"...the fact that future primaries are mostly closed..."

Just an FYI, that Kevin probably knows, but others may not.

California has what they (we) call a "semi-closed" primary. Which is not very closed.

When you register to vote in California, you must register as a Democrat, Republican (Green, American Independant, Paece and Freedom, and some others), or as an 'independent'.

When you show up at the polls, if you are not 'independent', you are given the ballot for your party; that is, no crossing over from Republican to Democrat, or vice versa. That's the 'closed' part of semi-closed.

But if you are an 'independent', you are allowed to ask for the ballot of any party that allows independents into their primary. And both Dems and Republicans let them vote in their primary. That's the 'open' part of 'semi-closed'. That is, the Democratic primary will be Dems and some number of independents, and the Republican primary will be Republicans and some number of independents. And NOT "...only Republicans ... voting in the Republican contests".

So in terms of McCain and his ability to draw votes from independents, California is pretty damned 'open'.

Posted by: Robert Earle on January 16, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum >"...Hooray for smoke-filled GOP rooms!"

Gonna be the wrong kind of smoke in those rooms

And they tend to "bogart" far, far too much

"There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept." - Ansel Adams

Posted by: daCascadian on January 16, 2008 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

On Mitt's website he's eMitt.

And when Mitt dies and goes to hell he's DamMitt.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on January 16, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

David in NY are you admitting that you were taken in by the fratboy? Even after he stated "my hero is Jesus Christ! I was appalled when I heard that.

Posted by: capitalistpig on January 16, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Rush Limbaugh: "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [ McCain or Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party."

I think this narrative -- repeated over and over, by more and more establishment conservatives -- is an extremely important factor in Romney's favor.

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 16, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Hooray for smoke-filled GOP rooms!"

Particularly if they're on fire.

Posted by: cazart on January 16, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

I have seen it argued that Fred Thompson will win Florida. I don't believe it, but for Republican hijinks it sure would be fun.

Poor Rudy, though, I think is doomed to always being a bridesmaid. At least he can dress the part.

Posted by: Richard Hershberger on January 16, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

"David in NY are you admitting that you were taken in by the fratboy?"

Hmm. Before the general, I thought he was a cipher (what I was referring to above). In the general election, I thought he was an idiot. I confess, I never thought that the blueblooded grandson of Prescott Bush of Connecticut, Yale and Harvard MBA (without honors), actually believed that Jesus was his hero. Worse, I never imagined that he thought he actually talked to Jesus or His Father.

Now, Mitt's a Mormon, so Joseph Smith only knows what he really believes ...

Posted by: David in NY on January 16, 2008 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Drum: John McCain got stomped in Michigan among self-described Republicans.

I still don't understand why McCain losing in Michigan is such a blow to his campaign...low voter turnout combined with the Dick DeVos crowd's support of Romney...who scratched DeVos' back earlier:

Also getting $1 million is Dick DeVos, who is running for governor in Michigan, a closely divided state that holds early presidential primaries..

If any state was a 'lock' for Romney, it was Michigan. He's been campaigning for President here since October of '06.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 16, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

The premise behind Limbaugh's statement seems to be that conservatives are the country's natural rulers. What they want should automatically come about. The truth (at least we may hope so)is that the conservative movement only represents a small minority of the country and is falling apart anyway. May they continue to eviscerate each other!

Posted by: david on January 16, 2008 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

The only way hoping Mitt wins from a democrat's point of view is if Obama or Edwards is the nominee. If Hillary is the nominee, I really think he can beat her because the sole reason for her candidacy that would remotely resonate with independents and moderate republicans is her "experience" which when stacked up against a former governor looks pretty weak. Romney has no pesky votes that can really be hung around his neck -- and let's not even get into who actually delivered health care reform (Mitt doesn't talk about it now cuz his base no likey, but we'll get beat over the head with it in the fall).

Posted by: Blue Moon on January 16, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

"But I'm still rooting for a brokered convention. "

With the fathead Gingrich the sacrificial nominee.

Posted by: bob h on January 16, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

My impression is that Romney is spending more than the others, since he can use his personal millions. Higher advertising spending may be a bigger factor in larger states like FL and CA, where individual, one-on-one campaigning is less significant. So, I agree with Kevin that he's likely to be the last man standing.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 16, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

How about it ex-liberal? Are you ready to man up and answer my question, or is that something (manning up) that you have simply been unable to muster in all these long years? I shall ask again, and forevermore, every time you show up:

How many deferments did you ask for and receive during the Vietnam war? Do you ever wonder about the men who went in your place?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on January 16, 2008 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

S/he's not going to stop asking you, ex-lib. You might as well answer it. If deferments are public info, and I suppose they probably are, s/he probably already has the answer.

In other news, I must say, it is an amusing day when McCain's people accuse some other candidate of pandering.

Posted by: shortstop on January 16, 2008 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

I just have a quick question for people who are from Arkansas or people from surrounding states that know about Arkansas politics. Is it true that most people from Arkansas HATE Huckabee? I was reading a few articles that said that he was a pretty corrupt governor and had a bit of a vindictive streak. It also seems that most people from Arkansas are not donating money to his campaign (in fact, I read that Hillary is getting more political donations in Arkansas than Huckabee). Anyway, I just want to confirm.

Posted by: adlsad on January 16, 2008 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ed: I was sort of thinking with a McCain /Huckabee ticket it could be Muck & Huck, Mick & Hick, or Walnuts & More (nuts).

Posted by: coozledad on January 16, 2008 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

The next President will be a Mormon, and the new coinage will state “in gods and goddesses we trust”.

Billary's has already sealed its fate, and the negative numbers to come out will shock!! Billary can not win-- it opens its mouth, people wince.

Posted by: jimmy bob on January 16, 2008 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Blue Moon. I think Romney will beat Hillary. I think enough people will have difficulty voting for a woman and enough people will convince themselves that he's not all that conservative (he was after all governor of Massachusetts) that he will have the advantage.

Posted by: karin on January 16, 2008 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Rush Limbaugh's spittle-flecked hatred of both McCain and Mike Huckabee: "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party." Ouch."

Considering the depth the Republican party has drilled too in the past twenty+ years, I can only take this to mean that the trolls are afraid that the Republican party will leave them in their self made hell.
Not that it will help the Republican party out any time soon, but it would be fun to watch the right wing troll's autocombust.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on January 16, 2008 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hummmm? Willard Romney as the next Bob Dole-like republican presidential candidate. Hummmm?

Posted by: Unrepentant Liberal on January 16, 2008 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Must be something about the special mormon underwear.

Posted by: vrk on January 16, 2008 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Romney is the guy the Democrats want to go up against. They'll get Independents that might have voted for McCain and they'll get Southern Democratic Evangelicals that might have voted for Huckabee. I'd bet my life's savings, the deed to my house and the title to my car that the Republican party would commit harikari before they'd get behind Rudy Guiliani. Go Mitt!

Posted by: osage on January 16, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

I hate to crow but months age I pointed out that real Republicans (not evangelicals or libertarians who often lean Republican) deeply believe that wealth is associated with virtue. Romney being the wealthiest must therefore be the most virtuous (or truest Republican if you prefer). This Republican voter in the privacy of the voting booth ignores the noise of political debates, TV advertising, etc and just goes with his gut instinct which tells him that Romney must be the "best" man.
The bottom line is Clinton vs Romney in November.

Posted by: Bruce Rosner on January 16, 2008 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Newt is waiting in the wings!
Carpe diem!

Posted by: Camilo Wilson on January 16, 2008 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

First the name Romney means something in Michigan. George Romney was Michigan's finest Governor. I grew up in Michigan, and can assure you that Willard Mitt Romney is no George Romney. That said, the only surprise would have been Willard not winning Michigan.

The Republican nomination will be determined by who drops out first. If nobody drops out it will be a brokered convention. Clearly Willard M Romney has an inside track unless a couple things go McCain's ways. First Willard is the preferred candidate of Jeb Bush, and Dick Cheney, they have not yet endorsed him but they have made it clear by the actions of subordinates, and Lynn Cheney that he is the chosen one. Remember Lynn Cheney's mother was a Morman. Don't underestimate that Clear Channel going private was done by Bain capital, Willard's old company. So Rush Blowhard and Sean Hannity I love Rudy 9/11, have been singing a Romney tune lately, after the sale to Bain Capital. Don't underestimate the power of Rush, Hannity and the other hate radio Nazi's.

So what needs to go McCain's way, for him to win? First Fred Thompson, needs to drop out and endorse McCain after South Carolina. That would give McCain a big up in Florida. After Mr 9/11 comes in third or forth in Florida, he may drop out and endorse McCain as a way to stop Romney. Those are the two things that need to happen for McCain to have the nomination locked up after Feb 5th. If nobody drops out before Feb 5th look for a long ugly battle to the end with Huckabee, Willard, and McCain left standing and a brokered convention.

I am currently spending some time in St Augustine, Florida for the past couple months (my brother owns the local St Augustine TV station WQXT 22)I have only seen ads by Willard and Mr 9/11. The Willard ads disappeared about a month ago. The fact that Willard is a Mormon, can't be overstated. That Mormonism "Cult" as they call it down here won't fly in the deep south, even in a purple state.

So when is Willards next win after he beats Ron Paul in Nevada? Feb 5th he wins Utah, Idaho, and a couple other North Eastern states, the rest go to McCain and Huckabee if Mr 9/11 and sleepy Fred drop out. All the big states will go to McCain on Feb 5th.

I have nothing against Mormon's kevin, but I have lived in Utah, I have been skiing there many times. I even have family that are Mormons. America is ready for a woman President, America is ready for a black man to be President, Americas is not ready to elect a Mormon President. That said, the Republicans may nominate a Mormon. I mean a three timed married man who married his second cousin for 14 years, announced his second divorce at a press conference before telling his wife, who had a security detail for his mistress nearly a year before that announcement, was the front runner nationally for the nomination. So yes they could nominate Willard.

The Republican's should nominate McCain, he will have the best chance to stop the tsunami that is coming for the Republicans come November. If they nominate Willard, the wipeout down ticket could be huge. For Willard has the same problem as Rudy, the more people get to know him the lower his numbers go in the polls. I mean come on, Michigan is Willards home state he had to win there and he could not even get 50%.

Do you think American's are going to fall for another Governor from a rich political dynasty family who is going to run as an outsider coming to change Washington as a uniter not a divider? Americans are dumb, Kevin they are not stupid.......The Republicans will nominate McCain and the Democrats will unfortunately go with the Hillary. Maybe someday America can have an election without a Clinton or Bush on the ticket. This will be the 8th election in a row with either a Bush or Clinton on the ticket, 28 years and counting..........

Posted by: Jmarcuscampbell on January 16, 2008 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Bumper sticker: "Don't be a Mittwit. Vote Democratic!"

Posted by: Jon on January 16, 2008 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Why root for a brokered convention, where they will pick the candidate with the best chance of winning? Root for Huckabee or Paul or Thompson. They are all electoral roadkill, whereas an argument can be made for the rest of them to actually win.

Posted by: Martin Gale on January 16, 2008 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Limbaugh's hate towards Mitt's rivals is unsurprising given that Clear Channel was recently bought by Mitt's old company, Bain Capital.

Mitt is Rush's boss.

Posted by: Captain USA on January 16, 2008 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

when Hugh Hewitt writes about Romney, it's Mittsterbation and he has a Mittgasm.

Posted by: rnato on January 16, 2008 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Rudy ain't dead yet.

A win in Florida remains a good possibility, and even a decent 2nd place showing put Rudy in position to make big gains on Super Tuesday. In many ways, Rudy is fading for the same way Edwards has -- a lack of media attention. If the media isn't talking about you, you aren't considered viable. But once SC is over, all eyes will turn to Florida -- and Rudy will be inundated with coverage.

The most crucial factor for Rudy will be the lack of any clear 'front runner' against him. Thus, the media narrative won't be "Rudy against Willard" or "Rudy against StJohn", its gonna be "Can Rudy Make His Strategy Work?" And, because Floridians are as vain as everyone else, and Rudy has made Florida HIS (ostensible) focus, there will be a natural tendency to vote for Rudy.

Add to that the simple fact that we're looking at New Hampshire redux again (a lot of people who were supporting the frontrunner start telling pollsters that they are "soft" supporters of the media candidate of the moment -- but wind up voting for their original candidate come election day) and Rudy is far from dead.

As for Huckabee -- you're not paying attention. Huckabee isn't really running for the nomination this year, he's positioning himself for 2012 (and/or a VP slot). In fact, since this is looking like such a bad year for the GOP, at a brokered convention the Party bosses might hand Huckabee the nomination just to make sure that he (and the threat of evangelical candidates in general) is not a factor in 2012.

Posted by: p.lukasiak on January 16, 2008 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding the California primaries, Robert Earle writes:

But if you are an 'independent', you are allowed to ask for the ballot of any party that allows independents into their primary. And both Dems and Republicans let them vote in their primary.

That doesn't appear to be true. I'm holding in my hand a copy of the official California voter information guide for the Feb 5 election. It does indeed say that 'decline-to-state voters' (ie, independents) may request a ballot for any party that permits them to vote in its primary.

HOWEVER: the only parties listed as allowing such participation are the American Independent Party and the Democratic Party. No mention of Republicans. I must conclude that while the Dem primary will be open to independents, only registered Republicans will be allowed to vote in the CA GOP primary.

Posted by: Lionel Hutz, attorney-at-law on January 16, 2008 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Seems like closed primaries would benefit Huckabee, since he's not likely to get independent votes anyway.

Posted by: awrbb on January 16, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Corpus Juris has a point: Nothing, at this point, is keeping the Repubs from drafting at the Convention. I've often felt that Jeb Bush might enter the nat'l picture and this election year just might be it. He could come in a attempt to "clean up" his brother's mess and try to salvage some kind of legacy for him. At this point, I wouldn't put anything past the Repubs. They will do anything to salvage POWER. The Bushs have some kind of strange power over the Repubs.

Posted by: fillphil on January 16, 2008 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, I do hope them GOPs have a brokered convention and solve their deadlock with the guns they love so.

Posted by: Sir Lee Jodie on January 16, 2008 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ah can't wait fer that eelection when Chelsea runs agin that thar Porto Rican the Bushes got in thar family. That'un oughta be a hummdinger daddy doo, yes siree bob!

Posted by: clem on January 16, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Al-anon: "Once people see the real Mitt Romney, voters will be eager to vote for Mitt."

Which is exactly why I hope he's the Repugs' candidate -- because there IS no there there!

Posted by: Kenji on January 16, 2008 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ve vill vin mitt Romnei!

Posted by: Liberal Fascist on January 16, 2008 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

If Roney gets a sex change operation, we can call him "TransMitt"!
When he sends e-mails, he's "E-Mitt"!
When he can't pay his debts, he's "O-Mitt"!

Posted by: Bibblesn on January 16, 2008 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

"vote for Mitt so that another Clinton can not come into power again and bring back the horrible 90's."

This gets my vote for most hilarious post of the thread!

Posted by: Joel on January 16, 2008 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know how Huck can win any election anymore now that he has admitted to eating squirrels. It jus' ain't natch. And he fries 'em up inna popcorn poppa. Why did he say somethin' like that; tryin' ta git it out befo' McCain hits him with it? He probably lookin' ta be veep with Willard thar who can hunt down the varmints and Huck can cookem up good in his popcorn poppa. This here election sure sounds crazy to me. 8 years ago we had that dust up with McCain's daughter being a negro an' his wife a drug fiend. Now Huck is eatin' squirrels he cooks up in his popcorn poppa, and his son hangs dogs from trees, and what else must they be hidin' if they're throwin' these admittings our way. Ahm bedazzled by the whole frickin' spectacle I am.

Posted by: ernest caswell on January 16, 2008 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

And the Lord spoke unto to His Prophet:

"Mike," spaketh the Lord," goest thou up to St. Paul
and there command thy brethren to cast off the unholy sinners;
For they are Sodomites and moneychangers,
who are neither of the people, by the people, nor for the people;
and they obey neither My Laws or their own.
And get thou and thy host to the shores of Lake Nokomis,
and there create thee a new force in the land.
Thereby will the people find peace and justice once again."

Thus spake the Lord to His Prophet.

Posted by: Captain Nemo on January 16, 2008 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the comment above that mainstream Republicans, not the evangelicals or right-leaning libertarians, tend to go by the idea that 'wealth = virtue', therefore Romney is the best candidate. The guy also positively radiates 1956.

Posted by: Thomas McDonald, New York, NY on January 16, 2008 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think Romney is a very handsome man, more handsome than Obama if that's your type, and far more handsome than the matronly Hillary.

America will always elect the most handsome candidate because he reflects upon the nation and is our face to the world. Romney's good looks are paramount to the future success of our beloved nation.

I know some will scoff at this post, but when voters go into the voting booth they in the end always vote for the handsomest, except in primaries, of course, where people joke around and vote for a second rate looker like themselves, but when the chips are down and it comes time to choose the leader of the free world, they vote handsome!

Imagine Dennis Kucinich our President. We'd be the laughing stock of the universe. "Take me to your leader!" and this guy shows up? May as well have Woody Allen as President.

We need strong Manly leaders, I guess that's what I'm saying.

Posted by: sylvia on January 16, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

I chose Romney as most likely to win the nomination, and I'm still sticking with that. Same reasons Drum cites. He is telegenic, successful, and a smooth talker. He's doesn't look like a stodgy old white man like so many other of the GOP candidates. I am completely flummoxed as to whether he's slick enough to talk his way around his egregious flip-flopping and win the general, or if he will just come off as too much of a salesman.

(why was the common wisdom counting Mitt out if he had lost Michigan? He had the most delegates going into that contest, IIRC)

Let's see if the Democrats have finally learned how to play to win. Mitt's a ginormous phony and flip-flopper. He sure as shit needs to be

Posted by: rnato on January 16, 2008 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Paul is going to continue to peel off the 10% wackos (more in some states).

Ron Paul would have to reach 10% in one of these states to "continue" to take voters away from other candidates.

Posted by: LP on January 16, 2008 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

"... so that another Clinton can not come into power again and bring back the horrible 90's."

Horrible 90's? I hope this is a joke. Greatest period of economic growth since WWII. Balanced budget in 1999. Period of relative peace with the United States as the only superpower and moral leader of the world.

Yeah, just horrible. And to think that was only $3 Trillion in debt ago.

Posted by: JFL on January 16, 2008 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

"America will always elect the most handsome candidate because he reflects upon the nation and is our face to the world. Romney's good looks are paramount to the future success of our beloved nation."

Abe Lincoln's looks could peel the paint off a wagon wheel. And he had a high, squeaky voice.

Your post explains why America is where it is today.

Posted by: JFL on January 16, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think they all need to be comMitted...

Posted by: Bajsa on January 16, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

For me, I see a McCain/Romney ticket. :)
We can be sure the repub's will try cobbeling something together by suitably(sp?) bribing Huckabee. Rudy gets to go home mumbling and collecting his fee's.

Posted by: Radix on January 16, 2008 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

by, fillphil

"The Bushs have some kind of strange power over the Repubs."

I think it is called illegal wiretaping of phone calls, and email message vacuuming.

A family trait, I am sure.

Posted by: jimmo on January 16, 2008 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'm betting that Jeb does get the nod too at the convention. Look at his record in Florida--he's a shoe in. I mean, Rowland served time...but Jeb hasn't yes; he's the compromise candidate!

Posted by: parrot on January 16, 2008 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is the Jane Fonda of illegal infiltration. Lots of "humane" and little patriotism.

Posted by: Luther on January 17, 2008 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

If Romney starts dressing like Rudy can we call him transMitt.

Posted by: Terry C. on January 17, 2008 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

i think it's mccain-luv that propels the mmm meme that there is "no front runner" for the gop, which is true, if you don't count the delegates.

Posted by: skippy on January 17, 2008 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Please oMitt further Romney Bad Puns.
We've reached the liMitt.

Posted by: JS on January 17, 2008 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

Lionel Hutz -

You are correct, sir.

I've worked at the polls in California every election since 2002 (as a reaction to the Florida debacle in 2000), and in every primary the Republicans have allowed the independents to take part.

But not this year. I just took a look at the info packet for working this year's election (hey, I've still got two weeks to do my homework!) and the Republicans are not allowing independents in. Booo, Republicans.

I should have known not to mess with legal acumen the likes of Lionel Hutz.

"Hey, I looked something up! You know, these books behind me aren't just decorative. They are chock-full of useful legal tid-bits!" - Lionel Hutz

Posted by: Robert Earle on January 17, 2008 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Mitt had a history in Michigan, although that was a long time ago. It may have helped him.
...
Posted by: Tripp "

Romney got older Republicans in Michigan who remembered his old man George; he of the washable brains.

But that's not what gave him his 9 point win.

Remember that before their last debate the margin was 1 or 2 points and pick 'em.

During the debate, in answer to a question about jobs in Michigan, McCain said 'those jobs are not coming back here.' Romney jumped all over that massive gaffe. The next day McCain said that he would re-train Michigan's already highly skilled workforce. For what jobs he didn't say.

TV stations around the state showed clips of McCain's 'you're toast, deal with it' gaffe and his offer to train well trained workers, then included Romney's remarks. These clips were repeated over several local newscasts.

The polls then detected movement toward Romney. The result was a 9 point win.

The national press doesn't get that.

If you're a Michigander of either party and of almost any income level you REALLY got that.

For some scumbag sun belt desert rat to come up here and tell people that they're shit on and won't do crap about it, tells me that McCain isn't terribly bright and deserved to lose.

Romney's proposals were unworkable crap but he understood that he had to say something that at least looked like he would deal with the problem.

Posted by: cal1942 on January 17, 2008 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

"First the name Romney means something in Michigan. George Romney was Michigan's finest Governor. I grew up in Michigan, and can assure you that Willard Mitt Romney is no George Romney. That said, the only surprise would have been Willard not winning Michigan.

...

Posted by: Jmarcuscampbell"

Well, I'm 65. have lived in Michigan all of my life and have to say that G. Mennen Williams was Michigan's greatest governor. Hell, Romney's successor Milliken was better than Romney.

This was a 1 or 2 point race until their debate. McCain's debate gaffe, shown many times on local TV news made it a 9 point margin.

See my oomment above.

Posted by: cal1942 on January 17, 2008 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

If Romney wins every second or third primary, his success will be interMITTent?

And to get Holy Joe Lieberman as a Veep candidate, would he first have to undergo a Bar MITTsva?

Posted by: TAQA Kanuni on January 17, 2008 at 4:00 AM | PERMALINK

And if he wins in November, it will be a calaMitty.

Posted by: JS on January 17, 2008 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

It will be a regular arMittgeddon; a downright GotterMitterung be will be our Santa Claus.

Posted by: fug on January 17, 2008 at 7:09 AM | PERMALINK

Geesh, you're all wrong!

Mitt gets the nomination for one reason and one reason only.

It's the ECONOMY stupid!

Posted by: Bill Mitchell on January 17, 2008 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

"If eating that Huck-a-burger gave you McCramps, you may need to VoMitt just to feel better..."

Posted by: Bill Mitchell on January 17, 2008 at 7:51 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, ignore all polls your read yesterday. NONE of those include polling done AFTER the MICHIGAN WIN by Mitt.

TODAY we will see if he gets a BOUNCE.

P.S., Mitts MARGIN OF VICTORY in Michigan was actually = McCain's TOTAL VOTES in NH! (~80,000)

Posted by: Bill Mitchell on January 17, 2008 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

MITT'S BRILLIANT MOVE TO TAKE NEVADA!

While McCain, Huckabee and Thompson slug it out in SC, Romney has quite brilliantly done the following:

1) Lower expectations for himself to 4th place so that anything higher will be a victory.
2) Raised expectations for McCain calling him the "prohibitive favorite" and saying it would be "hard to imagine him losing".
3) Leave for Nevada today where he gets the state all to himself for two days of campaigning while everyone else ignores.
4) Shores up his base in the West (California has just decided the Independents CANNOT VOTE in the Republican Primary and Mitt is already polling well there.)
5) Mitt just got endorsed by Nevada's #1 paper.
6) Dirty little secret - people think that SC is SO IMPORTANT but it actually has ONLY 24 DELEGATES. Nevada has 34!
7) By not being a threat in SC, he gets 3 days of NO NEGATIVE ATTACKS by the other guys while they all beat each other up.

Honestly, it's quite brilliant!

Posted by: Bill Mitchell on January 17, 2008 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

McCain does not have a snowballs chance in hell of winning, not enough votes, now there are some idiots out there that will vote for him, but we do not need another Bush in office and he would be twice as bad as Bush, hell he has already ruined himself by the comment he said the American people could care less if our troops were over in Iraq for another 100 years, now what kind of dumb azz war hawk is going to say such a thing, a war hungry idiot.

Posted by: Al on January 17, 2008 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

It creeps me out that the Mittmeister may be the Republican candidate. Not only is he sleazy, phony slimeball, but perhaps he's just the kind of sleazy, phony slimeball to appeal to all of the ignorant know-nothing voters in the hinterlands, the people who voted for Reagan and both Bushes.

Posted by: Anon on January 17, 2008 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Anon said: "It creeps me out that the Mittmeister may be the Republican candidate. Not only is he sleazy, phony slimeball, but perhaps he's just the kind of sleazy, phony slimeball to appeal to all of the ignorant know-nothing voters in the hinterlands, the people who voted for Reagan and both Bushes."

And yet we wonder why Democrats keep losing national elections. Mondale was soooo close to winning -- all he needed was 20 more states.

Posted by: Blue Moon on January 17, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Romney's proposals were unworkable crap but he understood that he had to say something that at least looked like he would deal with the problem.

As the wonderful John Stewart said last night - "So they voted for the guy who lied?"

Republicans - can't live with them, can't seem to get rid of them.

Posted by: Tripp on January 17, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party."

Too late by 8 years, Rush! The nomination of George W. Bush has already destroyed the Republican Party.

Posted by: nemo on January 17, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Rush seems to be sMitten with Romney.

Posted by: JS on January 17, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

On the theme of "be careful what you wish for," I'll root for no one. But Jeb Bush won't be chosen in a brokered convention--Americans won't vote for another Bush.
Romney is good-looking, which worries me. (Then again, I'm always worried. I used to be worried about Giuliani.) He doesn't have any groups of people--aside from a few anti-Mormon evangelicals--who hate him. I'd rather face Huckabee.

Posted by: Greg on January 17, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly